The Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister of Justice, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, has stated that the propositions of Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana, and its board members that the Auditor-General is not part of the Audit Service but a separate creation can only result from an inadequate reading of the laws of Ghana, including the Constitution and the Audit Service Act.
He said contrary to the strange view of CDD-Ghana, the letter and spirit of laws governing the work of the Auditor-General make him part of the Audit Service of Ghana and, therefore, a regular member of the public services of Ghana to whom the Attorney-General can give advice pursuant to his mandate under Article 88 of the Constitution.
Mr Dame, in a release copied the Ghanaian Times yesterday, said relevant constitutional provisions such as Article 189(2) of the Constitution provides a clue when it stipulates thus: “The appointment of officers and other employees in the Audit Service, other than the Auditor-General, shall be made by the Audit Service Board, acting in consultation with the Public Services Commission”.
The Attorney-General and Minister said this provision deals with the appointment of officers and all employees in the Audit Service, including the Auditor-General, and clearly provides that with the exception of the Auditor-General, all others have to be appointed by the Audit Service Board, acting in consultation with the Public Services Commission.
Last week, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice expressed an opinion regarding the publication on the website of the Auditor Service of an audit into the Government’s COVID-19 transactions before the said audit report could be debated by Parliament and referred to an appropriate committee of Parliament in accordance with Article 187(6) of the Constitution.
The CDD-Ghana, in its response, characterised the opinion of the Attorney-General as part of “a domineering superior posture that the Akufo-Addo administration has adopted in dealing with the constitutionally-independent office of the Auditor-General”.
However, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice said it was important to correct the wrong imputation by CDD-Ghana because the constitutional function of Parliament could not be wished away by a narrow, simplistic and erroneous reading of the Constitution by CDD-Ghana or any other civil society organisation.
“The Attorney-General considers it imperative to correct the palpable errors contained in and implied by the press release of CDD-Ghana, as same distort the relationship between the At
torney-General and the Auditor-General in the constitutional architecture of the Republic and have far-reaching implications for Ghana’s record of rooting out corruption.”
“With the clear cue provided by Article 189(2), a contention that the Auditor-General is not part of the Audit Service or a member of the Public Services is pointless and absurd.”
Similarly, Mr Dame argued that Section 2 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) lays the issue to rest when it lists the Auditor-General as the first member of the Audit Service in these terms: “The members of the Audit Service are (a) the Auditor-General, and (b) the other persons employed in the Service.
“The Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice implores civil society organisations to carefully examine the position of Ghana’s law on a relevant matter before raising unjustified public alarm over a violation by the Attorney-General or any public institution at all. The default in doing so affects the image of the nation in the eyes of the international community, particularly (with regard to) its anti-corruption ratings.”
BY MALIK SULLEMANA